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New home owners to be surveyed

Probe aims to boost consumer confidence


One thousand new-build home owners are to take part in a survey as part of a probe into the £20 billion a year industry.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced the study earlier this year in a bid to boost consumer confidence in buying new homes.

At the time it said it had been monitoring the house-building market since 2004 and was concerned that it may not be working well for consumers.

A Which? report in 2006 revealed that people were moving into new homes only to discover a plethora of problems including cracked concrete floors, poor brickwork, inadequate drainage, substandard mortar and falling roof tiles.

At the same time concerns were raised that people weren’t getting enough protection from the ten-year insurance warranties provided by their builder.

Now home owners will be asked about their experiences of buying and living in their new home.

Redress scheme

The OFT survey will ask owners how satisfied they are with the quality and range of properties available as well as the adequacy of redress if something goes wrong.

The survey will focus on a cross-section of homes bought in Great Britain in the last two years, including houses, flats and bungalows.

The OFT will also conduct surveys of builders and local authority planners in the coming months and the study is expected to report back by summer 2008.

Heather Clayton, OFT Senior Director of Markets and Projects, said: ‘For many people, buying a house is the largest purchase they will ever make and the study will look for ways to improve the experience of buying a new home as well as the range and quality of new homes available and the after sales service offered. We would encourage everyone who is contacted to take part.’

Name builders

Which? spokesman Bob Tolliday said: ‘We know that there have been a number of concerns about the building of new homes so we welcome this survey.

‘To make the satisfaction survey meaningful we hope that the OFT names the builders concerned as this will give consumers better information when making their choice of home.’

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